Brutally honest interview with Jody Williams, survivor of sex trafficking and founder of Sex Workers Anonymous.

Ruth Jacobs

Jody Williams

How did you become involved working with victims of sex trafficking and prostitution?

I’ll start back when it all started – with me in the sex industry. I say ‘sex industry’ because I was involved not just in prostitution. I was operating as a prostitute, as a dominatrix, in the phone sex industry, pornography, stripping, live sex shows, swinging, sex clubs, and madaming. I had been brought into this by a generational family of pimps who had their other family members and associates all across the United States in many different areas of the sex industry.

I saw firsthand how these illegal businesses would intertwine with legal businesses and so-called legal businessmen. I know how they would bring in medical doctors who would give the women birth control, illegal abortions, treat their STDs – all off the record in exchange for a trade of services between him and the ‘girls’…

View original post 1,489 more words

Is Prostitution Ever Voluntary?

Yes, I know this is a blog about being bipolar.  And you know what?  I think the topics of bipolar-ism and prostitution go hand in hand.

And why is that?  It is because pimps hone in on the vulnerable, the lonely, the ones who are looking for love and not finding it, the ones with poor self esteem, the depressed, the confused.  And because the mentally ill often become homeless, jobless, drug-addicted, and desperate.

It’s still January, and January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  I’ve been reading a lot and learning a lot about the dynamics of sex trafficking and prostitution.  Among the things I’ve learned are that:

  • Depending on the study, the average age for entry into prostitution is 11 to 13 years old.
  • The vast majority of prostituted youth (and adults) come from abusive homes.
  • Girls (and sometimes boys) are often “groomed” by “loverboys” who give them jewelry, clothes, and mostly, attention, and when they are “ready” they are abducted and forced into a life of slavery.
  • This goes on in virtually every country.
  • Girls who try to refuse to cooperate are beaten and raped into submission
  • Girls are “domestically trafficked,” which means they are moved from city to city within a country: like from Columbus, OH to Detroit, MI, for instance
  • Girls as young as 12 and 13 get arrested, thrown into jail, and charged with prostitution, while pimps and johns go scot free

Can you imagine being taken away and raped over and over, many times a day, for years, until you either “disappear” or get spit out on the street because you are too old to appeal to the child rapists any longer?  It just totally tears me apart.

And then there is the child pornography.  Need I say more?

But prostitution is “the oldest profession.”  Isn’t it?  Women (and men) CHOOSE to sell their bodies because

  • They like sex
  • They like money
  • They like sex AND money
  • It’s easy money
  • It’s an exciting, glamourous lifestyle
  • It’s empowering to women to be able to do whatever they want with their bodies

Not really.  If you want to know how glamourous and empowering the prostitution lifestyle is, look at the rates of drug abuse.  Prostituted women are either given drugs by their pimps to keep them cooperative, or else the women themselves develop drug habits to escape from the hell of being used as sperm receptacles.  Those with serious drug habits often do get into a vicious cycle of having to get money to buy drugs, and the quickest and easiest way to do that is to turn a trick.

I have known a lot of prostitutes, and not one of them has done it because she enjoyed the sex.  Sex for the prostituted is for one thing: money. And most of the time most of the money doesn’t go to her, it goes to the pimp or madam who rents her out.  Prostitutes learn how to dissociate when a john is on top of them.  The problem is, the dissociation doesn’t always work: that’s where the drugs come in.

Now we come to runaways.  As some of you already know, I was a teenage runaway.  I ran away from an abusive home after being drugged, abducted, and brutally raped by a man who had been admiring me at work.  So I ended up on the street.  I wasn’t there because I wanted to be; I was there because I thought I was going to find peace and love.  What I found was that if I needed food, shelter, a shower, drugs, anything really, the only way to get it was to sleep with some guy.  If I didn’t have a place to crash (meaning a guy to sleep with), I slept outside or walked the streets all night.

That was back in the early 1970’s.  Things have changed now, for the worse.  Runaways now are caught and funneled into the sex trafficking business by pimps who work the streets looking for them.  It is very easy to spot a runaway.  Your hair is uncombed, your clothes are a mess from sleeping under some bush in the park, you are probably carrying a backpack, maybe a sleeping bag if you thought that far ahead.  You look homeless, because you are.

So some handsome, well groomed guy offers to buy you a meal, and you are hungry.  Then he offers you a place to crash, and you are tired of sleeping in doorways or in the park, and have probably been raped a couple of times by now so you are ready to come indoors.  Then you discover that you can’t get out.  And then the nightmare really begins.  That’s the way it is now.

As for the glamourous call-girl life, I’ve known a couple of women who’ve done that.  I thought about it myself sometimes, when I was young and beautiful and needed money to make it through college.  Yeah, I have some friends who got through school by “turning tricks,” as it was called back then.  I have never seen such damaged people in my life, apart from the ones who were kidnapped into it.  My friends who were “voluntarily” prostituting themselves found their self-esteem eroded trick by trick, and to bolster themselves up they had to turn another trick, and another….”the life” becomes an addiction.

We were all hooked on cocaine.  My cocaine habit was small change compared with theirs.  I did coke because it actually treated my depression (I didn’t realize that till years later); they did coke because they couldn’t stand their lives.  I got my coke by sleeping with dealers; they got their coke by turning tricks to make the money to buy more coke.  I guess I was a prostitute too, huh?  I just didn’t do it for cash, because I was scared to.  I did it for “stuff,” whatever was needed at the time.  Yeah, I heard myself being called a “coke whore,” but I chose not to listen until one morning I woke up next to yet another man I had never seen before, and I quit. Cold turkey quit.  I was one of the lucky ones.

To get back to the original question: Is Prostitution Ever Voluntary?  My answer is: it can look that way, when it’s an adult woman who makes what she thinks is an informed, purposeful choice, because she thinks she can make money quickly and easily that way.  But once in “the life,” a woman becomes trapped, either by her pimp or her drug habit or the crushing of her soul that is prostitution. Then it’s not voluntary: it’s slavery.

 

In the Booth with Ruth – Stella Marr, Sex Trafficking Survivor, Anti-Sex Trafficking Activist and Advocate, Executive Director and Founding Member of Sex Trafficking Survivors United (Survivors Connect)

Seemingly tireless campaigner for abolition of human trafficking Ruth Jacobs presents another in her eye-opening series of interviews with survivors of sex trafficking.  Stella Marr, who was trafficked in New York City for ten years, talks about her work.  The link to her personal blog, ManhattanCallGirl, is at the bottom of the interview linked below.  I had the honor of speaking with Stella a couple of days ago.  She is a powerful and compassionate woman, dedicated to effecting change in the system that currently criminalizes trafficked women, while allowing the men who buy them to either get off free or get a slap on the hand.  Please read Stella’s compelling interview, and while you’re at it, take a look through the many other interviews that Ruth has compiled during January, which is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

via In the Booth with Ruth – Stella Marr, Sex Trafficking Survivor, Anti-Sex Trafficking Activist and Advocate, Executive Director and Founding Member of Sex Trafficking Survivors United (Survivors Connect).

In the Booth with Ruth – Ed Drain, Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate and Activist « Ruth Jacobs

Another amazing interview by Ruth Jacobs, tireless campaigner for ending human trafficking and prostitution.  Ed Drain is a Veteran os the United States Army and the war in Afghanistan, who now fights for the liberty of all people, especially those who have been trafficked into slavery.  He is also a fighter for the freeing of Sara Kruzan.

In the Booth with Ruth – Ed Drain, Anti-Human Trafficking Advocate and Activist « Ruth Jacobs.

My Outhouse Is Frozen

I went outside today for the first time in four days.  In the meantime, it has been spitting icicles, sleet, freezing rain, and something the weather-people refer to cryptically as “ice pellets.”

Yesterday I went out as far as the front porch and threw some ice-melt salt around.  Today when I opened the door, I saw with satisfaction that the stairs were all melted, so I went down them to see if I could go out to my car, and perhaps get out down the dirt road that serves me for a driveway and take these stinking bags of trash that have been building up since the storm to the “recycle center” (that means the dump) ten miles away.  That is what we have for “garbage pickup” here.  You pick up the garbage, put it in your car, drive ten miles, and throw it in the dumpster.

But I digress.  When I stepped out onto the level gravel space that serves me for a parking lot, I very nearly fell on my arse, because the top layer of the ice had melted and refrozen.  Too bad my ice skates are in my storage building somewhere.  So I slid gingerly over to the old wooden shed, reached through the winder (pronounced WIN-der) because the glass is busted outen it, and hauled a fifty pound pag of ice-melt salt out, which had solidified from sitting around in the shed for 20 years more or less.  So I reached through the winder again and got a shovel and bashed on the bag of salt for a while, which had the double salutary effect of giving me an outlet for my frustrations and busting up the salt into more or less usable form: smaller chunks, anyway.  Then I slid around scattering salt like Mary Poppins throws bird seed, or maybe that was somebody else from some other movie.

What I’m getting around to here, is that with all that exercise I had to go to the bathroom.  Everybody does, sometime or other, right?  Well there it was, under the big hemlock tree

2012-10-25 09.13.51 where I asked the outhouse man to put it after its last adventure, when it fell ass over teakettle down the cliff in the last  big wind storm.

potty over the cliff

 I told them last time not to put it so close to the gosh dern cliff.  Lucky I was not in it at the time.

Somehow they managed to rescue it and clean it up, and put it right there under the tree, nice and handy.  I had not had occasion to use it since its adventure, and now seemed a perfect time, the sun shining and all.  So I opened the door and was pleased to see how very clean he had managed to make it.  He had left the lid closed, so I opened it and looked down.

The bright blue disinfectant fluid was frozen solid.  I was surprised.  I though they made that stuff with antifreeze or something, for just this sort of occasion, when it’s been colder than a well-digger’s arse out there, and maybe the well-digger has to use the bathroom.

So I though, nah, impossible, and got the stir-stick out from under the stairs.  That’s right, the stir-stick.  That’s the stick I use to stir the, well, you know, when it gets too full in there, like if I’ve had workmen building something or, well never mind.  Anyway, I stuck the stir-stick in there just to see if maybe it was just the top layer that was frozen, like a skin or something; but no. Frozen solid, looked like all the way down.

Big deal, right?  Makes sense.  Temperatures hovering around the zero Fahrenheit mark for a few days, why not?

Well, it’s a good thing I have the Amazing Electric Toilet, that I have written about in a previous post.  But now I’m nervous, because the whole point of the Pesky Outhouse is that it’s supposed to be a backup form of toilet-ness in case of power outage.  But now I see a couple of problems:  one is the ice, which is the most likely cause for power outages around here, building up as it does on trees, which then fall on power lines (you should see it some time: the transformers go up with a POW and lots of fireworks).  The ice would prevent me from getting to the damn thing in the first place, unless I wanted to get there sliding on my bum.  And then once I got there, there’s this issue of, you know.  The ice inside, as well as outside.

Potty FAIL!

VIrginia Heath is the filmmaker of My Dangerous Loverboy, a film about how sex-trafficking of young girls is done. She has developed a whole curriculum for schools to teach girls the signs of grooming for trafficking so they can avoid becoming trapped.

Ruth Jacobs

Virginia Heath Film Director

What inspired you to support the movement against human trafficking and make films about human trafficking and sexual exploitation?

As a woman filmmaker, I have always felt strongly about issues of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. In 2009, I was asked if I would write and direct a film – My Dangerous Loverboy – that would raise awareness of the sexual exploitation and internal trafficking of young people in the UK. At the time, this was an extremely hidden issue. There was a slowly growing awareness of women being sex trafficked into the UK from abroad but very little recognition that British teenagers were being groomed, moved around and sexually exploited by gangs in our own towns and cities. It was happening right on our doorstep. As part of the research for writing the film, I was taken to hang out in places like shopping malls, back streets and parks…

View original post 1,317 more words

Blog For Mental Health 2013!

I am proud and humbled to have been pledged by Ruby Tuesday of A Canvas of the Minds as a Mental Health Blogger for 2013.  It’s not an award, but a commitment to keep on blogging with the aim of erasing stigma and creating community among those of us who live with mental illness.  Our Mental Health Blogger community is a place where people living with mental illness as well as their families and loved ones can come together in mutual acceptance and support.  It’s awesome!  So here’s the pledge:

I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project.  I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others.  By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health.  I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

Here is where I’m supposed to write a short summary of my own journey with mental illness.  Where to begin?  I’ve had issues all of my life with PTSD and dissociation.  Likewise, I cannot remember a time when I was not depressed.  I ran away from home, permanently, when I was 16 and only by the grace of G-d did not die or end up trafficked to Mexico, although there were some close calls.  I didn’t know I had a mental illness till I was in college and desperate to make money.  There was an ad in the student newspaper: take drugs and get paid!  No, really, it was a study that the Psychiatry part of the medical school was doing.  So I went and applied, and had to take a whole day’s worth of psychological testing before they would give me the drugs.  Some guy called me the next day and said, “You have to go to Student Mental Health right now!  Your testing shows you are Severely Depressed.”  Humph.  I didn’t feel any different than I always felt, but if I had to go to Student Mental Health in order to get my drugs, that’s the way it was.  I went.  There was a nice lady behind the desk in a cozy room.  She smiled beneficently and asked, “Why are you depressed?”  “I’m not depressed,” I said. “Then why are you here?” she asked.  “The Psych Drug Study made me come,” I said.  She shuffled through my slim chart and said, “Your testing shows you are severely depressed.”  She looked up at me with that saintly smile and said, “You get good grades.  You have a good job.  You’re good looking.  So why are you depressed?”  I stood up, thanked the lady, and walked out.

The next time I got an inkling that I might be depressed came when I was in medical school, married, with a baby who never slept.  I adored him, and many years later I still adore him, but the fact is, he never slept through the night until he was five.  So at that time I think he was maybe ten months old, and I had not slept since he was born.  I was in the middle of my Cardiology clinical rotation.  Everyone had gone to lunch, but as usual I had no appetite and was uninterested in hanging out with people, so I was sitting in a study carrel reading EKGs.  My Cardiology attending came over and said, “Aren’t you going to go get some lunch?”  And I said, “No thanks, I’m not hungry,” avoiding eye contact by studying the EKG.  “Look at me,” he said, and I did, mechanically.  “You’re depressed,” he said.  “I want you to go home and get some help.  You need to see a psychiatrist.  Please call me tomorrow and tell me what you have done about this.”  And head hanging, I went home.  My ex-husband came home and said, “What are you doing home so early?” since I usually stayed late studying.  “I’m depressed,” I said.  He turned on his heel and walked out.  “Let me know when you’re better,” he said on his way out the door.  I called somebody at the medical school whom I trusted, and told him the situation.  Five minutes later I got a call from a psychiatrist, who gently demanded that my (ex) husband accompany me to an appointment on the following day.  He did.  The shrink explained to him that I was physically incapable of doing what I was doing, taking care of our son all night and being a medical student all day (and sometimes all night too).  He explained how to give the baby a bottle.

He also gave me my first psych drug, imipramine, which not only knocked me completely out, but gave me a horrible itchy rash from head to toe.  Then he gave me antihistamines for the rash.  I dimly remember lying on the cool hardwood floor wishing I was dead but having no control over my body and therefore being unable to act on it, which was good.  After I got over that, he gave me some other drug, which allowed me to make it through med school in one piece.

Then I got to my residency in Pediatrics, where the standard work week was 120 hours.  More sleep deprivation.  And still with the non-sleeping child, who, bless his heart, sleeps like a baby now that he’s in his 20’s.  And then there was the husband who needed attention too.  So I went to a shrink and got Wellbutrin, which is very good for some people, but me it tipped over into hypomania.  Only nobody in the medical world in which I lived seemed to know about Depression and Mania and those kinds of nervous system brain sorts of things.  They only knew about Show Up For Work And Keep Your Mouth Shut.  I had this private joke: if one of us residents died, they wouldn’t give us time off to go to our own funeral.

As it happened, three of us residents DID die, and another one got taken out of service for accidentally giving someone the wrong medicine, which caused their death; so instead of every third night call, we had every other night, and sometimes “every every” night, which meant we didn’t get to go home much.  I really don’t know how the program directors thought that flesh and blood human beings could tolerate that for three years and not kill themselves or die in car accidents falling asleep on the way home, both of which things did happen in our little corner of Hell.

Anyway.  Fast forward from the late 1980’s-early 1990’s when all this shit was going down, to Y2K.  That’s right, the nearly infamous Year 2000.  Well, it WAS infamous for me, because a whole conflagration of disasters hit me that knocked my pins right out from under me and I ended up in the hospital.  And I became disabled, just like I am now.  The only good thing was that some shrink finally noticed that I’m bipolar, and put me on Lithium.  But by then my medical practice was in ruins, my family life in tatters, my finances non-existent, and worst of all, I had lost my identity.

I’ve wandered around some more since then, and although I’ve just been declared permanently and totally disabled by a Federal Social Security judge (and that feels pretty rough), I’m writing more than I ever have.  I’m blogging, and have become part of this wonderful community that is centered around A Canvas of The Minds.  I’m FINALLY writing my book, having used NaNoWriMo for the past two years to give me the kick-start I’ve needed to get two of the volumes well into progress.  I’m slowly redefining myself, and even though I still have attacks of  “the mentals,” I’m bumping along, and that’s OK.

Oh all right, that was not short.  I am Incapable Of Writing Anything Short.

Now comes the part where I am supposed to pledge five other Mental Health Bloggers.  OMG.  How am I supposed to choose????  I’ll just start, and when I get to five I’ll stop.  Maybe.

PAZ, of Melancholically Manic Mouse

Lunch, of Lunch Sketch

Nicolas, of Puncture Repair Kit

bpshielsy at The Pipolar Place

survivor55 at Bipolar and Breastless

I hereby pledge to remember to let all of the above know I’ve pledged them.

Lastly:  I am supposed to remember not to forget to link back to Canvas, so here it is.  I think I’ve linked back to Canvas about six times in this post, but I’m feeling kind of wacky today so if I’ve messed up in some of this stuff I hope everyone will forgive me.  And feel free to let me know!

Love to everybody and sending good juju for staying healthy this winter, and looking forward to another wonderful year of Mental Health blogging together!

Soul Survivor

There’s A Naked Woman In Here!

My dear friends and followers, I admit that my recent posts have been heavy.  Chalk it up to January being World Anti-trafficking Month.  As you know, I take this to heart, being myself a survivor of homelessness, street life, and survival sex, which is a very low-pay form of prostitution.

So today I’m going to give y’all a break.  We’re going to talk about that summer in 1972 when all of us worked at various summer camps in and around Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.  Wolfeboro scatters itself around the shores of Lake Winnepesaukee, a magnificent waterscape populated with countless tiny islands, and marshlands filled with grebes, herons, loons, Canada geese, and all manner of small creatures upon which the former feed.

And the camps surround the lake like a string of pearls.  There are private camps for the wealthy, many of which have been there since the 1800s, like the one where Sandy and Keith worked doing restoration construction on some of the older buildings that decrepitude was creeping up on.  And there are summer camps for children, rich, like the one Martha worked at.  And then there was Camp Urban Opportunity, where I worked.  It was run by some philanthropic foundation, with the purpose of getting ghetto children out of the ghetto for two weeks in the summer.

All four of us were students at Elite School of Visual Arts, a small independent art school, the brainchild of a group of survivors of the Bauhaus Movement who had fled the confines of New York City for the broad vistas of small town New England.  We four were chronic troublemakers even in this hyperliberal incubator, possibly because we all suffered from the combination of ADHD and too much marijuana.  But that’s another story.

It was pure coincidence that the four of us ended up in the same general vicinity that summer.  All of us had parents who were not pleased with our progress in some way or another, and for one reason or another we were disconnected from the familial money tit.  Therefore it was necessary to make our own money.

Martha had actually tried turning tricks, but as she was a very large woman (she once came to my Halloween party dressed as a mattress), her market niche was too small, so in desperation she turned to legal work instead, which was much more healthy although less lucrative, at the end of the day.  She worked at Camp Bambi, which catered to the horsey set, and even though no horse could handle Martha’s 300 pound frame, she held up the arts-and-crafts angle of the camp and was accepted as a Bohemian with her hand-made colorful flowing robes and long beaded earrings, her red-gold hair flowing loose down to the backs of her flesh-enfolded knees.

Sandy and Keith were both refugees from wealthy country club tennis families, and had learned the building trade as a means of rebellion and now worked together as restoration carpenters, doctoring New England’s ailing elderly buildings.  They had been hired by Camp Longago, a private family camp, to repair leaky roofs and combat the inevitable dilapidation wrought by time and weather.

My position had evolved because of my previous employment at the YWCA in a down-at-heel section of Boston, where I worked as a breakfast cook for the women who were fortunate to get a $15 double room, breakfast included.  I slung bacon and eggs, pancakes and sausage, from six to eight every morning, seven days a week.  I was allowed to eat the oatmeal if there was any left, and there was always some left.  “The Oatmeal Diet,” I called it.  I certainly lost weight on it.  If you ever want to lost weight, try it.  The problem was, I did not need to lose weight.

So when the notice came up on the YWCA bulletin board for a camp counsellor at the Y camp in Wolfeboro, I jumped on it.  I had a hard time getting out of the clutches of Ms. Hardass, my supervisor in the kitchen, simply because I was a good egg-slinger and showed up every day, but she finally consented to write me a letter of recommendation, and I nailed the job.

I had to make my own way up to Wolfeboro from Boston.  My other partners-in-crime came from other parts of New England:  Keith from Maine, Sandy from Cape Ann, Martha from Vermont.  We all hitch-hiked to our respective camps on Lake Winnepesaukee, and met up in Wolfeboro for one last brewski together before heading off to our summer fates.

My gig turned out to be much, much worse than the Y egg-slinging job.  From 6 till 8 I cooked breakfast for the little darlings.  Then from 9 till 10 I Washed. The. Fucking. Dishes.  Then I went to the arts-and-crafts room, where I attempted to interest the little pigs in jewelry making, modeling clay, watercolor painting, macrame, origami, everything except for the various forms of murder upon which I continually fantasized so as not to actually commit it.  At night I slept in one of the campers’ cabins along with eight of the little monsters.  I never got any sleep because, being thirteen years old, they were continually crawling out the windows in order to rendezvous for the purpose of fornication with the boys from the “brother” camp down the road.  Unfortunately, it was also part of my set of responsibilities to specifically prevent this, on pain of I-don’t-know-what if one of them turned up pregnant after camp.

I got one one half-day a week, and one weekend a month, off.  My weekends were generally occupied in recklessly climbing the peaks of the Presidential Range, alone, without regard to life or limb.  The worst that came of it was a sprained ankle that I got while running full out down Mount Madison in a terrifying lightning storm.  I ended up spending the night rolled up in a tarp next to the road, awaking covered with mud and leaches.  The kindly man who gave me a ride back to the camp shook his head and clucked all the way.

My half-days were my canoe days.  I would borrow a canoe from the camp and slide out into the lake, taking compass bearings on the various islands; there were so many islands, and they looked so much alike, that one could easily get lost and spend days trying to find open water again.  My favorite thing was to back into some back-water marsh and just sit and watch the life teaming around me.  My very favorite moment was when I had gone out very early in the morning, when the mist was thick on the lake, and was sitting still on the water listening to the loons calling, when a whole family of the loons I had been listening to paddled up to my boat, looked at me with their red eyes, and sailed off again, calling with their eerie looney voices to others of their kind.

We did not spend that entire summer in isolation.  Keith and Martha managed somehow, despite Martha’s bulk, to conceive a child in a canoe in the middle of the lake.  Martha’s family was not at all happy about that situation and tried to make Keith pay for it in one way or another; but Martha was extremely pleased with having a child, and paid her family back by removing herself from their circle and arranging things with Keith so that he could be a father to his child, but that Martha retained her independence, which suited both of them perfectly.

Sandy and I had been friends and lovers already for a long time.  We were friends all the time, and lovers when both of us were between other lovers.  It worked out perfectly.  So on a day when my afternoon off began a bit earlier that usual, I took a canoe and high-tailed it over to Sandy’s camp, where he was basically alone except for Keith, who was working on the other side of the camp that day.

Sandy and I got to fooling around, and since there was a camp mattress in the cabin he was working on, we consummated our mutual desire in a most satisfactory way.  Afterwards, Sandy went for a dunk in the lake to clean up a bit, and I puttered about, naked as a jaybird, getting some lunch together.

There was a knock at the door.  Damn, thought I, I must have accidentally locked Sandy out.  So I unlocked the door and opened it.  There stood, not Sandy, but the owner of the camp, who took one look at me and turned his back, muttering inaudibly.  Then he opened his mouth and hollered, in his New Hampshire accent, SANDY? SANDY!  THEY-AH’S A NAKED WOH-MAN IN HE-AH!

“…women in prostitution, who are eighteen times more likely to be murdered than the average population and who face all kinds of verbal, physical and sexual violence are swept under the carpet. We are bowing to the profit-makers, to the pimps and the capitalists who see women as commodities. This needs to be discussed, or those interested in profit will win, as they are winning now, because neo-liberal capitalism lets them.”

Ruth Jacobs

Nicole Rowe

How did you become involved in supporting the abolition of prostitution?

As a feminist activist, you have to be wilfully blind to ignore the sex trade. I was planning a one-off activist stunt around sex trafficking at a UK activist training event, and was fortunate that those I met were passionate and dedicated enough to want to form an organisation with me to tackle the foundation that holds trafficking up – prostitution. If we lived in a world where women’s bodies were not for sale, then sex traffickers would not be able to operate. So, the best place to start alleviating the problem of trafficking is with prostitution.

What draws you to support and advocate for people in prostitution?

Largely, the lack of people doing so, and my outrage at that. Put simply, we live under a capitalist, patriarchal system, which means profit comes before people. For those at the receiving end…

View original post 1,470 more words

Reblogged from In the Booth with Ruth: Dina Leah

Dina Leah, a survivor of child abuse and rape, ran away from home at age 16 only to find herself homeless on the streets. The only way to get shelter, food, and other necessities was to have sex with strange men. This led to more rapes, and a vicious cycle of drug abuse, survivor sex, and homelessness. She is currently writing a novelized memoir, using a pseudonym out of fear of her abusors. Ruth Jacobs, tireless advocate for change and abolition of prostitution, interviews Dina here about Dina’s life as a writer. In a second interview on Ruth’s website, Dina talks about her life as a runaway and how it has affected her, both as an activist for street kids and in her own personal life.